According to news reports, General John Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff, and John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, had an argument on Thursday about illegal immigration and border crossings that led to raised voices. Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg reported that a source informed her that Bolton criticized Kelly’s replacement at the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders acknowledged there were differences of opinion among President Trump’s advisors, and also pointed out that the Democrats are playing politics with the issue of illegal immigration. She stated, “While we are passionate about solving the issue of illegal immigration, we are not angry at one another. However, we are furious at the failure of Congressional Democrats to help us address this growing crisis.”
President Trump is fed up with the countries south of the border; he tweeted on Thursday:
The Hill reported, “The Department of Homeland Security data published earlier this week showed 16,658 family members were arrested by Border Patrol agents last month. It was the highest one-month total on record and an 80 percent increase from July. … Trump has threatened to cut off aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala if those countries do not prevent their citizens from heading to the U.S., and has suggested he may deploy the U.S. military to the southern border to stop migrants from entering.”
Bolton is a noted hardliner on immigration issues and devotee of the Constitution as well. In 2017, while speaking of Trump’s “travel ban,” he said on Fox Business, “I don’t have any trouble arguing that the president has near plenary authority here under the Constitution to exclude aliens from the country. That’s absolutely basic.” He added, “I can tell you from long experience both at the State Department and the Justice Department, the immigration system, legal and illegal, is a mess. I remember right after 9/11, the consular affairs assistant secretary in the State Department said in a staff meeting with Secretary of State Powell that some of the participants in 9/11 had been granted visas because they had purchased first-class air tickets to get into the United States. … The system needs a thorough, top-to-bottom review. We’re coming at this from behind because of the day-by-day events (that) overwhelm us. How are we going to fix it? In this case, it’s very straightforward. We’ve got countries that don’t function.”
In 2016, speaking about America’s southern border, Bolton stated:
I think that after decades of being lectured by our friends in Europe about out attitude toward illegal immigration, they’re now seeing the chickens come home to roost. I think citizenship is a critical concept in a democratic society and America has, over the years, because of our melting pot phenomenon, our ability to integrate people from all over the world – it’s our national motto E Pluribus Unum – it has made us the greatest country in History. If you abandon that and say that citizenship is for anybody that happens to be on our side of the border, you’re destroying this experiment. And the consequences will come sooner than later and they will be negative in their entirety.